Public housing projects in Annapolis and North County will receive more than $5.6 million for much-needed renovations, Representative TomMcMillen, D-4th, announced yesterday.
Both the city and county housing authorities won federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to upgrade their older communities. Though less than requested, the grants will allow both agencies to finish long-awaited improvements, housing officials said.
Annapolis will receive $4.3 million to finish interior work at Harbour House, the largest of the city's 10 public housing complexes, which has been under renovation for a year. Part of the grant also will be spent on emergency repairs and to provide better access for the handicapped.
The county Housing Authority won $1.25 million to give Burwood Gardens, its oldest complex for seniors, a face lift. Moneyalso has been budgeted to repair the sewer system, water heaters, smoke detectors and drainage at Pinewood and for grounds work at Freetown.
"I think it's very important for the quality of life of our public housing residents to see these improvements," McMillen said in announcing the grants.
Annapolis was awarded $2.1 million through the same program last year to renovate Harbour House, a community of 273 garden-style apartments rented to more than 1,000 tenants. Built in the 1950s as middle-income housing, the complex received only routine maintenance for years.
In the past year, the city has repaired rundown balconies and stairs, installed new lighting, improved drainage and renovated vacant rooms that once contained laundry appliances.The second modernization grant will be used to finish the renovations, said Harold S. Greene, the authority's executive director.
"We've got a lot of work to do," he said. The agency must replace roofs at Bowman Court and some town houses in Newtowne.
The county agencyreceived a quarter of the amount the city got to modernize its communities. As a smaller agency, with only 1,026 units compared with Annapolis' 1,103, the county automatically was awarded less, said Brad Fitch, McMillen's assistant.
Management problems and high vacancy rates over the last year also have hurt the county authority. Last year, HUD rejected the agency's request for $5 million, citing the agency's difficulties with previous grants.